Reflections of Faith
Read and be inspired by a reflection based on today's Gospel made by members of the Verbum Dei Family in Manila.
March 31, 2018, Holy Saturday
Gospel: Mk 16:1-7
Mary Magdalene, Mary Mother of James, and Salome went to Jesus’ tomb and then they saw that the very large stone had been rolled back. They entered the tomb and saw a young man sitting. The young man said to them that Jesus has been raised and He is not there anymore on the tomb and He is going to before them in Galilee and there they will see Him as He told them.
In the gospel, Mary Magdalene, Mary, Salome and the disciples of Jesus are still in pain of losing Jesus. In our lives also, there are times that it seems like Jesus is dead in our lives especially when we are facing challenges in our lives. It feels like that a very large stone is blocking our way Jesus and with our strength along we cannot move the stone for even an inch. Jesus had risen and through Him the very large stone was moved. Jesus promised that He will go back to us no matter what happens and we will see Him in glory.
The invitation for us is to keep our faith strong and firm for Jesus has promised that He will go with back us in glory and will bring glory in our lives also. Be like the young man also who act as the messenger of God’s promise. Tell to the world that Jesus will go with us and the world will see Him as he promised.
March 30, 2018 Good Friday
Gospel: Jn 18: 1- 19: 42
I am the Fulfillment
Today’s gospel marks the fulfillment of the what the Lord has said. In the previous gospel it says, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus passion is full of emotions and events happening side by side: betrayal, denial, anguish, pain, sorrow and hope. At the end of the day, we can be witnesses of the fulfillment of the words of the Lord. In the beginning of the gospel, Jesus said twice the word, “I am.” when the soldiers responded to Him to whom they were looking for. Moreover, he emphasized it with the phrases, “I told you I am”. At this moment, we can greatly admire Jesus selflessness to tell the people who he is and later carrying the heavy cross and at the end be crucified.
In this passionate day of the Lord, we can deepen on what are the ways in which Jesus is inviting us to suffer with Him, in braving the storms of our life with him… Do we share our sufferings with Him? Or do we bear it alone and hide it for some reason? What are the concrete situations that Jesus is trying to challenge us to bravely share it to him face to face?
Let us ask for His mercy to show us the way and light, that we may also share and carry our own sufferings bravely like what He did just to save us.
March 29, 2018 Maundy Thursday
Gospel: John 13:1-15
Despite Jesus knowing that he will be betrayed by one of his disciples, he still offered to wash their feet during the Last Supper.
In the gospel today, Simon Peter refuses this gesture, but Jesus answered to him, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Jesus wanted to share his genuine act of compassion and kindness towards his disciples so that in return they may do the same to other people. "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."
We are invited by Jesus to imitate his attitude of service, to be more aware of the needs of our brothers and sisters. What are the instances wherein we extended our compassionate hearts and hands of mercy to the people who surround us? Are you prepared to wash the feet of other people, our family, loved ones, friends, community members even if they seem to be unlovable or undeserving? Today, Jesus wants us to realize that they deserve our love and mercy all the more. Let us pray to Mama Mary to have a compassionate heart like Jesus.
March 28, 2018 Wednesday
Gospel: Mt 26: 14-25
Trust in Him Who Knows EverYthing
Jesus knows what is in the heart of everyone. He has predicted Judas betrayal and because of this, follows a tragic moment in Jesus´´ life: his Passion and death.
In today’s gospel, the disciples offer themselves to prepare the Passover. Jesus asks them to find a certain man and tell him, “It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.” We can see how the Lord God is the all-ever knowing and powerful to Jesus life. Just like in our own lives, the Lord God is the author who gives us directions to where we go when we are confused, consolations when we are tired and providence when we lack hope.
Today, we are called to imitate the trust of Jesus in the Father who knows everything and at the same time, entrust our lives to the Lord knowing that whatever happens, He will be always at our side in times of challenges and trials. He is the one who holds our life. Jesus is the clear and concrete example of how we should entrust our lives to the Lord. Let us pray for the concrete options on how to do this.
March 27, 2018, Holy Tuesday
Gospel: Jn 13:21-33, 36-38
Stay and Wait Constantly
As we come near to the passion of Jesus, we see how people at that time follow and observe what Jesus do and says, the followers of Jesus who were with him in this journey.
In today’s gospel, Jesus revealed that one of his disciples will betray him and that is Judas Iscariot. After Judas Iscariot left the table, Jesus prophesied and told the others, “My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews; Where I go you cannot come, so now I say it to you.
Now, we are invited to stay and wait constantly for the coming of Jesus. Even if His death is coming to its near, we are called to stay and be with Him, in his presence, and to carry in our hearts his spirit. Hardships and trials may come but Jesus is always there in our lives inspiring, motivating and giving us hope. Let us pray how we can remain with Jesus presence despite all the temptations and worries that fill our hearts right now.
March 26, 2018, Holy Monday
Gospel: Jn 12:1-11
Poor in Spirit? Receive Me.
As we enter the Holy Week, we might find ourselves still preoccupied with a lot of things. For some, it’s finally vacation to spend time with families, a break to rest from stressful days of work, and a chance to ponder on things that happened at the start of this year. To start this important week, we can have a few moments of silence and ask ourselves: are we prepared for this awaited week as we continue to deepen our Lenten Journey?
In our gospel today, Martha anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume and filled the house with fragrance. On the other hand, Judas Iscariot opposed this act and said a lot of things about these gestures. This week, we are invited to have a welcoming heart like Martha who receives Jesus warmly by doing things freely and willingly, following God’s will. However, we are like Judas who is negative and unwilling because we are absorbed with our own intentions and worldly ideas which impoverish our spiritual life.
Today, Jesus wants to enter in our hearts so we can have his intention in our daily options. He wants us to have Him in our decisions, emotions and in our heart to deepen our relationship with Him. He wants to enter into the midst of our being. Let today be the start of filling ourselves with His spirit. Ask for the guidance and grace to be filled with Jesus spirit.
March 25, 2018 - Palm Sunday
Gospel: Mk 14:1-15:47
Sparks in the Darkness
Our Gospel reading is the whole passion of the Lord, the darkest hour of Jesus has come. Amidst this darkness, we can find many details of love: the woman who anointed him (14:3); the disciples who offer themselves to prepare the Passover (14:12); the man who allows Jesus to use the best room in his house (14:15); the helping hand of Simon of Cyrene (15:21); the soldier who proclaims his identity (15:21); the attentiveness of the women to where his body was being placed (15:47) . . .
These gestures of love shine like sparks amidst the dark background of Jesus’ pain and the hate of so many. It can be said of them what Jesus said of the woman who anointed him, “They have done what they could.”
Today Jesus is suffering again his passion in so many brothers and sisters around us. Let us do what we can to alleviate his suffering, for he himself told us, “What you did to them, you did to me.”
March 24, 2018 - Saturday
Gospel: Jn 11:45-56
Till The End
“Are you gonna run the marathon and not cross the finish line?” These are the first lines of a song that came to my mind after reading today’s gospel. People were wondering if Jesus would finish what he started: “What do you think? Will he come to the feast?”
We know the answer. Jesus will culminate his work. He will be faithful until the end to his mission, and so fulfilling the (unintentional) prophecy of the High Priest--gather into one the dispersed children of God with his death for all.
Let us learn today from him to finish what we start--commitments, apostolic initiatives, projects--even if it entails taking pauses to recharge energies or refresh our motivations, just as he did by withdrawing to the town of Ephraim for a while. Lord grant us determination to carry out or our own mission till the end. Amen.
March 23, 2018 - Friday
Gospel: Jn 10;31-42
Do You Understand?
A week from now, we will commemorate the Passion of the Lord. Today's Gospel reveals precisely what seems to be the core of the conflict that led Jesus to such a death: his revelation as the Son of God and the close-mindedness of the authorities.
Today Jesus keeps searching for hearts that can welcome and try to understand his message. He knocks at the door of our hearts and asks us, “Do you understand?”
This is not about theological or intellectual understanding alone, but those who understand that Jesus is the Son of God embrace the lifestyle of the children of God.
Lord, Grant grant us understanding hearts that are not contented with being your admirers and spectators but rather decided imitators. Amen.
March 22, 2018 - Thursday
Gospel: Jn 8:51-59
I know Him And I Keep His Word
If you have been following this week's readings, it'll be easy for you to guess what the trend is: #conflict. Such a conflict around the identity of Jesus, that today it arises to the point of wanting to stone him to death!
But Jesus cannot take a step back. His whole life and his identity are defined by his relationship with the Father, and he will not compromise this even at the cost of his own life.
In front of a world in which everything is relative or “fluid”--political opinions, ideologies, values--Jesus continues to challenge us to witness to the truth. Let us not deny who we are; let us stand for love and life knowing that whoever keeps his word will never see death.